Waikato North Head Mine Site

Up to 1.2 million tonnes of sand is mined each year at the Waikato North Head mine. The deposit contains more than 150 million tonnes of ironsand.

Processing at the Mine

Before being transported to the Glenbrook Mill, the ironsand undergoes processing at the on-site concentration plant. A magnetic concentrate is extracted via a series of separation processes, then mixed with water to create a slurry (a 50:50 mix of water and (concentrate). By products – or tailings – from this process are used for site rehabilitation.

Fresh water used in the processing and the slurry is drawn from a lagoon adjacent to the Waikato River. Wastewater is treated on-site and either recycled or returned to the River.

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Transporting the Ironsand

The slurry is pumped to the Glenbrook Mill via an 18 kilometre-long underground pipe. This pipeline is a New Zealand Steel innovation and a world first. As an alternative to road and rail transport, it has the least impact on the environment and is unobtrusive.

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